When former couples fight for child custody, the situation is always sad and stressful as kids get caught in the middle. This is why most divorcing couples are advised to try and put together fair child custody agreements by themselves, outside of the courtroom.
Although there are exceptions, celebs usually have unlimited funds for lawyers, so they may be more inclined to go to court than estranged couples who aren't rolling in cash. Celeb child custody battles often get very unpleasant, just like a lot of "regular" child custody battles do.
Today, it's time to look at sixteen former celebrity couples who know what the phrase, "love on the rocks" really means. These couples broke up and then (in most cases, anyway), became bitter enemies.
When you passionately dislike a former partner and share a kid with that person, it's a recipe for years of hassles, headaches and emotional pain, unless you are mature enough to rise above. It takes a lot of strength to co-parent well after a breakup and some celeb couples have managed to be this strong.
After "consciously uncoupling" years ago, for example, Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin seem to have mastered the art of co-parenting. I am sure it wasn't easy for Gwyneth and Chris to put their own problems behind them and focus on their children, but they did it and still do it...and that's commendable!
Now, let's look at the exes who aren't so warm and fuzzy when it comes to co-parenting. Judges had to set custody arrangements for these families because they just couldn't agree on things out of court.
15 Unfriendly Terms - Halle Berry & Gabriel Aubry
This custody battle was seriously down and dirty. Halle Berry and her ex, who is a successful male model, do not like each other (understatement) and they cannot see eye to eye on custody or anything else.
Halle's ex is named Gabriel Aubry. At one time, this photogenic couple was clearly smitten with each other. Now, they are straight-up enemies.
This is unfortunate, as their beautiful daughter, Nahla, pays the price. Actually, Halle also pays, to the tune of sixteen thousand bucks a month. According to IrishMirror.ie, this is the amount of child support that her ex receives from her each and every month.
Halle must hate writing that monthly check. She tried to get the amount reduced drastically in 2014 because she thinks that Gabriel has stopped working due to the large amount of money that he receives for Nahla's care while the little girl is with him. Halle would prefer that he get back to making money of his own.
Halle moved on to marriage with French actor, Olivier Martinez, but that relationship failed too.
14 OK These Days - Alec Baldwin & Kim Basinger
Kim Basinger is very happy these days. She's put her failed marriage and custody battle with hothead, Alex Baldwin, behind her. She's in a stable, long-term relationship with Mitch Stone, hairdresser to the stars. The couple seem very in-tune.
Back when Kim was breaking up with Alec, her life was chaos. She must appreciate the peace and calm now. Alec and Kim fought over custody of their daughter, Ireland, who is Kim's only child. Ireland was caught in the middle as Mom and Dad let their hate for each other get in the way of co-parenting.
According to the ABCnews.com, Alec contemplated ending his life during the bitter custody fight. Kim wondered if the divorce and subsequent drama would ever end. These days, Ireland seems ok and Kim and Alec are ok, too. Kim and Alec are cordial with each other and that's definitely progress.
Alec is known for referring to his daughter as a "rude, thoughtless pig" in an angry voicemail rant which was leaked online. His anger issues are well-documented. According to Page Six, he can't live down the angry voicemail, which hears about every day.
13 He Won Full Custody - Kelly Rutherford & Daniel Giersch
Kelly Rutherford played Lily van der Woodsen on Gossip Girl. She was so perfect as the rich and impeccable blond. In real life, Kelly had a custody battle that was worthy of a prime-time soap. She lost custody of her kids to an ex who lived in Europe. This is a lot different than losing custody of kids who live in the same city.
According to Vanity Fair,
the stakes were very high with Kelly's custody case. She would have needed to move to Europe to see her kids regularly.
But since she works as an actress, it means that most employment is offered in Los Angeles or the Big Apple. Kelly's ex, Daniel, fought his corner and won. He claimed Kelly tried to thwart his relationship with the kids and the courts agreed.With plenty of cash from business deals, Daniel was quite willing to use it to fight Kelly for their two kids, Hermes and Helena.
Kelly literally went bankrupt trying to get her kids back. It's all very sad.
12 They Sunk Pretty Low - Charlie Sheen & Brooke Mueller
Charlie Sheen is an erratic person, as is his ex-wife, Brooke Mueller. When both exes are so often "on the edge", it makes a child custody decision more complex. According to Celebdirtylaundry.com, Brooke exited rehab in 2017 and then focused on regaining custody of her twin boys with Sheen (Max and Bob). Brooke had won full-time custody of Max and Bob back in 2014, before a sobriety slip.
At one point, Denise Richards, who is also Sheen's ex-wife, stepped in and cared for the boys. According to TMZ.com, Denise eventually got overwhelmed, because Charlie and Brooke's boys were violent. She said that they would hurt her daughters. Denise stated that she'd continue taking care of the boys only if Max and Bob's mom allowed the twins to receive psychotherapy. Denise reportedly described Brooke as "crazy".
It was cool of Denise to take the twins when her help was needed. I am sure she tried her best. Hopefully, Charlie and Brooke have it together now in terms of co-parenting, although their problems likely triggered problems in their boys.
11 Money Issues - Mel Gibson & Oksana Grigorieva
Mel Gibson used to have the best image. He was the Hollywood hunk with the impossibly handsome face (he was seriously gorgeous) and the laid-back Aussie personality. He was dreamy and gave great performances in so many legendary movies, including The Road Warrior and Mutiny on the Bounty. Then, all of a sudden, Mel seemed to go off the rails. According to the Daily Mail, Gibson made extremely offensive comments about Jewish people while he was getting busted for driving under the influence. This was just the start of a freaky downward spiral.
Later, Mel got together with Oksana, who became pregnant with their baby.
Mel and Oksana never married, but this doesn't mean that they didn't have an epic court battle over custody and child support.
You don't have to be legally wed (or separated, or divorced) to get into it over custody and support in the courtroom. You just have to be parents together!
There is currently some bad blood between Mel and Oksana. Mel seems to hold a lot of anger in general and Oksana, who initially was supposed to get fifteen million bucks in her settlement with him, is someone who triggers him frequently. The couple have a daughter, Lucia, together. When accepting the settlement, Oksana agreed not to release tapes with Mel's voice on them. She went against the agreement and lost so much money. She ended up with a quarter million bucks, instead of fifteen million dollars.
Oksana claimed that Mel was violent with her and threatened herself and her child. The tapes she released seem back up her version of events. The tapes were quite harmful to Mel's reputation.
10 Still At War - Ciara & Future
Future had his eye on Ciara long before they met. When they did meet, Ciara fell head over heels for Future and they got engaged. For a while, Ciara looked ecstatic, radiantly showing off a great big engagement ring.
Soon afterwards, the fairy-tale ended, as allegations of Future's unfaithfulness tore the couple apart. Ciara was expecting a baby when the scandal erupted and this baby (Future Zahir) will tie Ciara and Future together forever...whether they like it or not.
According to E Online, Future denied cheating. His denials were not believed by singer Ciara. By the time their baby boy was a toddler, they'd settled their child custody case in court. Before that happened, they slagged each other off on Twitter. Future talked about Ciara's "control issues" and Ciara characterized someone that she knew (everyone thinks it was Future that she was referring to) as "dishonest".
Today, Ciara is happily married to Seattle Seahawk, Russell Wilson, and Future is rumored to be a bit bitter about her happiness. According to a Daily Beast story, he refers to Ciara (quite creepily) as his "possession". She's expecting a second baby with Wilson.
9 Still Clashing In Court - Britney Spears & Kevin Federline
In this doomed partnership, Britney had the fame and money. Kevin was a backup dancer who became famous because he was married to a pop superstar. This imbalance in power probably didn't help this notorious couple to stay together. Their marriage tanked and then the child custody battle began.
The couple was widely mocked for their lowbrow ways. No one really believed that their marriage would last and it didn't, although they did seem happy for a while.
These days, Keven is angling for extra cash, although he already got a generous settlement. When a former partner is positively loaded, I guess it's tempting to go back to the trough whenever you want some moolah. It's the "gimme more" approach to getting by.
According to Lifeandstylemag.com, Britney is in a good place right now and she wants more time with her kids, rather than more money for Kevin. She's fighting to become more than a "weekend mother" to her two sons (with Federline), Sean and Jayden.
Britney has had her mental health struggles, but she's persevered and she's now in a happy relationship with Sam Asghari, who often proclaims his love for the pop diva publicly.
8 Strange Aftermath - Tom Cruise & Katie Holmes
The mysterious marriage of Katie Holmes and Tom Cruise was a subject of media fascination. Tom's connection to the Church of Scientology makes him different from a lot of other Hollywood dads who've gone to court due to nasty divorces and child custody wars.
According to Hollywoodreporter.com, Katie, whose Dad is a divorce attorney, scheduled an emergency hearing about child custody and child support in NYC, in July of 2012. After the court case was resolved, Katie was awarded primary physical custody.
Rumors that Tom hardly ever sees Suri are all over the Web. Are they true? A Hollywoodlife.com reporter wrote that Tom's loyalty to the Church of Scientology is the reason why he hasn't seen his own daughter in five full years.
According to the same story, Tom is mulling over leaving Scientology in order to be close to his daughter again, but Katie doesn't believe that Tom will ever leave the Church of Scientology.
7 Still Can't Get Along - Pamela Anderson & Tommy Lee
Tommy Lee recently posted a picture of himself with a swollen, bleeding lip to his official Twitter account. Tommy claimed that his own son, Brandon, attacked him while the former Motley Crue drummer was relaxing in bed with his fiance, Brittany, who is a social media star. The pic has since been deleted, but millions of people have seen it.
After Tommy shamed his son on Twitter, Pamela Anderson went berserk. She posted about Tommy's "sociopath" ways on her own social media profiles and blamed Tommy's alcoholism for the problems between him and his sons.
Tommy and Pam used to be a golden SoCal couple that people loved to look at. They married in 1995. By 1998, their marriage was over. According to E! Online, Pam sued for full custody of the kids in 2001. The courts decided on joint custody instead. Court documents show that this custody battle got pretty nasty.
Pam characterized her ex a as a "danger" and "alcoholic". Tommy said that Pam taught one of the little boys the F-word.
Pam is still hurling the same insults at Tommy today, even though so many years have passed. Tommy claims that Pam texts him all of the time, trying to get back together with him. What a mess.
6 Can't Stand Each Other - Christie Brinkley & Peter Cook
This one is pretty bad. Peter Cook does not have a good reputation in terms of his conduct with women and Christie was irate after their marriage melted down. Christie was apparently blinded by this smooth architect's pearly whites and perma-tan. She didn't realize that she was marrying a cheater until it was too late.
According to the New York Post, Christie's hubby was a jerk who cheated on her with a much-younger women and spent three grand per month on adult Internet services. Cook claimed that he did this shady stuff because he wasn't getting enough attention from his wife. Nice!
Since Cook's cheating ways and general perviness had been exposed everywhere, most people were on Christie's side during the custody battle. She did win full custody, as well as all of the property. Her ex got over two million bucks, much of which needed to be spent on legal counsel.
One creepy tidbit you may be interested in is that, according to Page Six, Peter Cook is rumored to covertly photograph young women in the Hamptons. People who live there talk about what he does. It isn't against the law...it's just...creepy.
5 Didn't Last Long Together - Paul McCartney & Heather Mills
Heather Mills got so much hate for hurting Paul McCartney. Relationships are complex and there are always two sides to every story. However, it's safe to say that most people perceived Heather Mills are a gold-digger and a big meanie! Paul was portrayed as fragile and vulnerable to gold-digging, because he'd lost his "true" wife, Linda to cancer.
Heather, who wears a prosthetic leg after losing her leg in an accident, married the former Beatles front-man in 2002. She gave birth to their little girl in October of the next year. By 2006, the couple was separated. By 2008, they were divorced.
These two had a major custody dispute. According to dd-familylaw.com, Mills got a settlement of fifty million bucks and joint custody with "Sir Paul". At the time of the settlement, their daughter, who is named Beatrice, was four years of age.
4 Callous Times - Whitney Houston & Bobby Brown
I never expected Whitney Houston's life to go the way that it did. When I was growing up and she was famous, she seemed so confident and perfect. She was the last person I'd ever envision being addicted to illegal substances. She made some bad life choices, but why judge? I don't know what led Whitney to abuse illicit substances. I never walked a single mile in her shoes.
Anyway, Whitney's relationship with wild child singer, Bobby Brown, may have set the stage for addiction. Maybe they came together because they were both addicts. There are a lot of stories. Only the late Whitney Houston and Bobby Brown knew the truth. According to an Irish Times story, Whitney had a lot of secrets and problems before her death due to "accidental drowning" in a bathtub.
During this couple's post-marriage custody battle, they tangled over daughter, Bobbi Kristina. According to People Celebrity, Whitney was awarded custody of her daughter after the divorce. Bobbi Kristina tragically died in 2015 from pneumonia.
3 Things Got Ugly - Usher & Tomeka Foster
According to People.com, Usher's ex tried to get full custody, even though it had already been awarded to Usher in a prior custody battle. In the second custody war, Usher retained full custody. His ex, Tomeka Foster, did not prove her case to the court's satisfaction. Tomeka made the decision to try to change the custody agreement after an incident at Usher's home, whereby her son, Usher V, was in danger in the swimming pool.
The couple met in a courtroom in Atlanta in 2013 to fight for custody of their two boys, Navivyd and Usher V. The court battle was reportedly an emotional time for all involved. A lot of family members spoke in court during the case.
Foster said that Usher fails as a parent by not communicating with her and by leaving their children with the wrong people. She claimed he's an absentee dad and that this is why she was trying to get full custody. Usher denied her claims and said the kids get the best of care. The court felt that Usher was being truthful.
2 Lawyers Had To Get Involved - The Gosselins
Does the Gosselin drama ever end? This kooky couple seems to thrive on conflict. I used to think Kate was the loony one, because I noticed her control freak ways when I watched their first reality TV show. Later, I realized that the seemingly-low-key Gosselin, Jon, was just as lame, or close to it. These two can't take a break from the spotlight and the breakdown of their marriage led to a media explosion. The custody battle was still raging in 2017, according to In Touch Weekly!
Apparently, in 2017, Kate and Jon were warring over their daughter, Hannah, who was then 13. Police had to be called in to settle the parents down during a dispute. At this time, Hannah was put into an ambulance and taken to the emergency room. The altercation started because Kate attempted to pull Hannah physically out of Jon's auto. As Hannah didn't want to go, she resisted in a violent manner, complete with lots of tears.
This stuff is crazy. At thirteen, a child should have more say about which parent to spend time with. At least, it seems that way to me.
1 Raging Custody Dispute - MIA & Benjamin Bronfman
MIA got romantically entangled with a rich man and discovered that rich guys have more resources when it comes to child custody battles. According to Eonline.com, MIA felt that her ex, Benjamin Bronfman, was trying to keep her from taking their son, Ikhyd, back to England, where MIA is from.
MIA went ballistic on Twitter as the custody drama unfolded. She accused her ex of using his money to do something unjust. The battle is still going on. MIA is involved in an international child custody case, like Kelly Rutherford's, and this makes it all more complicated. MIA will probably have to stay in New York with her son, rather than moving to England to allow the Dad to have access to his kid as well. If Bronfman agrees that she can move with the little boy, then she'll likely be allowed to.
References: Eonline.com, Eonline.com, Daily Beast, Lifeandstylemag.com, Hollywoodreporter.com, Hollywoodlife.com, Irishmirror.ie, ABCnews.com, Pagesix.com, Celebdirtylaundry.com. TMZ.com, DailyMail.co.uk, @MrTommyLand, Eonline.com, Nypost.com, Pagesix.com, dd-familylaw.com, People.com, People.com, Vanityfair.com, In Touchweekly.com, Eonline.com